Takeaways from Huskers spring game

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 6:03 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The opener on the last day of August is still a long way away and that’s probably ideal for the Huskers. The spring game was a mix of good and bad and it wasn’t a surprise when you consider the workload the players are experiencing as they learn a new way under a new staff.

Matt Rhule said “I think these guys have done everything I’ve asked them to do. They’ve gotten better and better and better and like to play football, even down to the very end, trying to go down the score, give them some of those reps. No one’s looking at me, no one’s complaining. They like to compete. I think this summer is so crucial to our team. The ability to focus for three hours – we saw some walls in there with the ball on the ground and all that – that’s really the next step, when you have the ability to focus for three and a half hours straight. I liked the progress we’ve made so far.”

The white team dominated the game kicking two first-quarter field goals before Gabe Ervin Jr. ran in a seven-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 with a two-point conversion. Georgia Tech transfer quarterback Jeff Sims added a second touchdown for the white team in the second quarter, a seven-yard keeper. That made it 21-0, the red team scored its only touchdown on a 53-yard Michael Booker fumble recovery and return. The final was 21-7.

It appears the depth chart behind Jeff Sims is unsettled, five quarterbacks played and Richard Torres threw the most passes completing 9-18. Casey Thompson did not play as he continues to recover from December surgeries. There were also encouraging plays from two young defensive linemen and that’s an area in the team that needs depth. Rhule would like to have two or three hockey lines on the defensive line to keep the players fresh. Princewill Umanmielen had four tackles including three for a loss and Cameron Lenhardt also had four tackles. Both were in high school earlier this school year, they enrolled early.

Rhule said, “Cam has this unique ability, like his hands and feet don’t stop. He’s able to push pockets and get pressure on the quarterback. Princewill has a unique ability to get off of blocks. He’s really great with his hands. Maverick’s been so versatile. The whole spring they’ve kind of fit in and they’ve gone with the ones and they’ve gone with the twos to play different positions. There’s no entitlement, they’re really tough, team guys. I think the future is really really bright.”

The most significant part of the day was what took place at halftime when the Huskers welcomed Frank Solich back and announced his name will now be on the locker room following his run of almost 30 years as a player, assistant coach and head coach. Nebraska’s first play of the game was a handoff to the fullback in honor of Solich, Rhule handed that football to the former Huskers head coach.